A thrilling race in prospect, and one in which we will find out a lot about future races for the season ahead. This weekends racing is going to be a real treat – rarely do we find such an exciting race outside of the major festivals. With that in mind i've examined the entire field and found an each-way selection which should offer some value!
Last years winner Silviniaco Conti (5/2 Coral) is currently second favourite for the race, with Gold Cup winning horse Bob's Worth worthy favourite. Paul Nicholls has an incredible record in this race, winning it 5 times since it began in 2005 – 4 of those with Kauto Star, and also last year with Silviniaco Conti. A faller in last years Gold Cup, Silviniaco Conti seemed to be travelling well before departing with jockey Ruby Walsh. Noel Fehily takes the ride, with stable jockey Daryl Jacob heading to Ascot. Fehily rode the horse to victory in his novice hurdle days, and has been in flying form as of late.
Bob's Worth (9/4 Betfred) will be looking to spoil the Nicholls party, and comes here for his seasonal reappearance, beginning his run up to retaining the Gold Cup. Soft to heavy ground won't be ideal conditions for the Gold Cup winner, but the horse has the class to run on anything and the forecast up until the race looks pormising. Some worries about Haydock's track have been expressed, but to me it's not a concern. Henderson is a shrood trainer, and wouldn't be choosing this race if he wasn't confident the horse could cope with track and conditions.
Sam Twiston Davies keeps the ride on Tidal Bay (9/1 Betfred) after a patient ride was given to the 12 year old in the Bet365 hurdle at Wetherby. Twiston-Davies made the ride look easy, on what can sometimes be an awkward horse. With the ground currently soft, good to soft in places conditions should suit, and Twiston-Davies gets another chance to shine on the horse. With his amazing performance in last seasons Lexus, it's hard not to fancy him finishing in the mix. He showed at Wetherby that even at the ripe old age of 12, he still has it in him to run big races.
Long Run (12/1 Coral) will be looking to put a disappointing run in the bet365 chase behind him. Up until that race, he had never been out of the first three in his career, and so has to be forgiven for his lack luster performance. He scoped dirty after the race, but has thrilled connections since in a jumping spin with Yogi Brisner. Second in this race for the last two years, shows that he has from around Haydock, and can handle the sharp course.
Another one who was disappointing on his reappearance was Cue Card (7/1 Ladbrokes) when failing to take top weight to victory in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter. He too can be forgiven for this bad run, but this is his first time for Cue Card around Haydock. He will strip fitter and have come on from that race, and you can be sure that the horse will put his all in.
Connections of Dynaste (7/1 Coral) will be hoping that they've made the right decision in bypassing the Paddy Power at Cheltenham last weekend, favouring this race. Taking on the big boys, this will be Dynaste's first races over the chases out of novice company. To me, he is probably better watched this time, but will be one to follow for the coming season – if he runs a creditable race, he will have the potential to go further.
The Giant Bolster (25/1 BetVictor) looks to be in good hands on his seasonal reappearance, with Dennis O'Regan booked for the ride. With the aim of going to Wetherby for the bet365 chase being bypassed due to a setback in training, this race will be the first of the season for the stable star. Third in this race last year, The Giant Bolster probably doesn't get the credit he deserves, coming from a smaller yard. He'll be sure to run a big race, but I just don't think he's good enough to contend with this lot.
The only Irish raider in the field is ROI DU MEE (20/1 Coral) with Jason Maguire taking the mount. He has been impressive so far this season and In my opinion his price doesn't justify his performances so far. He has beaten the likes of Sizing Europe and First Lieutenant already this season, and is most definitely race fit. He is Gordon Elliott's sole runner at this meeting, and so he must fancy his chances. If he'd have run the races he's run with the calibre of horses he's beaten, in this country, I don't think he would be as big a price as he is.
ROI DU MEE (Each-Way) (20/1 Coral)